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Crow Country & Chief Plenty Coups

Posted by on Jul 27, 2018

“Thank you for coming to Crow country. The land you are standing on is mixed with Crow blood.” ALDEN BIG MAN JR. I’m blogging about the Western Writers of America conference held in Billings and the field trip opportunities. I hopped on a bus and enjoyed a sack lunch while we journeyed to the Crow Nation to learn about Chief Plenty Coups. Chief Plenty Coups State Park is located on land still occupied by the Crow Nation south of Billings, Montana, a tribe once occupying the Yellowstone river valley from Wyoming, Montana and into North Dakota before being pushed west by the Cheyenne and Sioux. We walked the land and toured the home of one of the great Chiefs, best know for protecting the original homeland of his people and guiding by example for five decades. The land is everything, and all exist together as an inseparable whole. The State Park is peaceful and beautifully kept. There is a calming spirit about the grounds, especially around the sacred spring, and I couldn’t help but think about past generations that had walked the same pathways. There is an unmistakable positive energy and it is the perfect place for reflection. Becoming chief at age 29 in 1876, Plenty Coups was known to be fearless and cunning,...

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WWA Panel: Returning Buffalo to the Plains

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018

WWA Panel: Returning Buffalo to the Plains The Western Writers of America conference in Billings, Montana this year offered several informative panels on various topics. “Returning Buffalo to the Plains” was the topic, moderated by Bill Markley, with Kathleen O’Neal Gear, archaeologist and historian, along with her husband W. Michael Gear, archaeologist and award-winning author, who have been raising bison for 25 years in the Owl Creek Mountains of northern Wyoming.  Gervase Hittle worked as foreman/manager of Dan O’Brien’s Wildidea Buffalo Ranch located on the Cheyenne River. The buffalo have a long and storied history. North American bison fur that had been woven into wool was discovered in Iceland as far back as 1300 AD. The estimated numbers of bison that thrived on the grasses of the great plains was estimated to be around 70 million. By 1800, 50-65 million, 1883 at 456 million, and by the 1870s the Europeans had discovered buffalo hide for industrial products. The railroads were in place to begin transporting and supporting the rise of the hide trade. Buffalo Bill puts them in his wild west show and takes them all over the world, raising an awareness and fascination for the animals. By 1930s there were 30,000 in North America, about a 50/50 split between public versus private owners....

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WWA & Women Writing the West

Posted by on Jul 13, 2018

Women Writing the West Meet-Up in Billings, Montana! Through the Yahoo group, I posted an invite to members of Women Writing the West for a possible meet up for those who might be attending the Western Writers of America conference. We exchanged cell phone numbers, and one member responded with suggested time and place; hotel lobby for lunch at 11:30 or dinner at 6:30. I made the dinner time and along with fifteen other WWW members, we walked across...

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WWA Panels: Personifying Longmire

Posted by on Jul 6, 2018

The Western Writers of America held their annual meeting in Billings, Montana in June of this year. Throughout the four day conference, attendees could choose between discussion panels and field trips covering a wide variety of interesting topics. In this blog post, I’m reviewing the panel which focused on the hit show Longmire, a modern western crime drama first airing on A&E, and then picked up by Netflix which released two additional seasons. Episodes of all six seasons are available through...

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